Alongside darker evenings and the promise of the festive season, there's another late-autumn landmark: Movember, when men get experimental with their grooming routines and grow whiskers and a beard (or shaggier forms of facial hair!) to support charities focusing on men’s health.
Letting one’s facial hair grow is an undeniable commitment and not an easy affair – it requires patience and dedication. But hirsute faces do not have to mean unkempt ones. If you're growing out your facial hair this month, remember that it needs just as much upkeep and attention as a clean-shaven jaw line.
‘It is a different look, but not an easier one’, points out Michael Symeon, one of Truefitt & Hill’s Master Barbers, when asked about experimenting with this trend. Even if you have sported a beard for a while, there are certain tricks of the trade which should be adhered to and with which you might not be familiar. Here, Michael lends his advice on how to ensure that your facial hair is on point as your follicles sprout new growth.
‘Men can sometimes assume that because they are growing out a beard, they don’t have to visit a barbershop, but this misconception could not be further from the truth – you still need professional maintenance and advice every once in a while’, says Michael. The chance to work from home this year has meant that many men have devoted more of their time to experimenting with growing out their moustaches and beards. Unfortunately they have not always achieved the desired, well-polished result.
A regular check-in at a barbershop is crucially important in keeping a flawless, polished look. Michael recommends having your beard professionally looked after at least every 4-5 weeks, and maintaining the growth in between appointments at home. Paying the barber a visit is especially important when you are growing your stubble for the first time as you may be unaccustomed to your freshly grown beard's texture and consistency – be it wiry or fine – and an experienced barber can not only refine, define and style your bristles but also recommend appropriate products that help you to continue his good work at home.
Even if your razor is temporarily redundant, your bathroom cabinet should be equipped with a variety of other tools. Consider investing in a beard or moustache comb, as well as a small beard brush and beard trimmers. Use them to keep your stubble precise and uniform, and remember to direct the comb and brush in a downwards motion. Truefitt’s Ox Horn Beard Brush and Moustache Comb are the perfect tools to aid you in that, and their pocket size will allow you to keep both on your person when you are out and about. Ensure you start brushing your beard early, before it reaches the ‘wild and bushy’ stage, Michael advises: ‘It will be much easier to manage as it grows.'
The next pivotal step in your grooming regime is deciding whether to use a beard balm or a beard oil.
Truefitt’s Gentleman’s Beard Balm, which is made from 100% natural ingredients, is easily absorbed and creates a natural, matte look. Its unique formula will nourish and soften even the toughest bristles, and because it holds more weight, it is perfectly suited for shorter, more fulsome beards.
Their Gentleman’s Beard Oil, on the other hand, leaves a shinier coating and is an excellent product for longer beards. Expertly blended with the finest natural oils, such as coconut, avocado, jojoba, and argan, it serves to reduce irritation as well as condition and nourish hair and skin alike. It is especially renowned for its ability to prevent bristles from becoming wiry and for keeping the beard neatly tamed and perfectly styled.
There are certain problem areas to keep in mind to ensure that your beard looks refined rather than uneven and unkempt, says Michael. ‘Length doesn’t matter so much in terms of tidiness, but if your neck area is not meticulously looked after, the beard can look dishevelled and very scruffy. Whatever the length of your beard, it should be uniform from the Adam’s apple to the jawline, and a trimmer should be used to keep it so.'
Keep your cheeks clean-shaven and bear in mind that clean, defined edges really matter, so use a razor, such as Truefitt's Wellington Double Edge Razor, to keep uneven stubble on your cheeks in line. ‘One wise rule of thumb is to carve a straight line from your moustache upwards on each side, keeping it as close as possible to the natural hairline,’ says Michael.
Even the simplest moustache needs attention, as it requires regular trimming to keep it off the lips. ‘Whatever your tools – whether you opt for scissors or razor – use great care here’, warns Michael. In order to keep your whiskers handsomely groomed, part the moustache in the middle and comb in each direction to keep it tidy, rather than brushing it directly down. This rule applies to most styles, but be mindful of more theatrical variations. ‘If you are going for a shape such as handlebar or horseshoe, wax is needed to give it shape otherwise your moustache will definitely go awry,’ he says. Keep your 'tash in place with Truefitt's Gentleman’s Moustache Wax, which combines beeswax and shea butter to condition and soften the bristles and offers an excellent mouldable hold that for a controlled and well-groomed look.
Suitably informed and suitably armed with the right products and the right tools, your facial hair will have a statesmanlike quality and you will be able to avoid that all-too common downfall – an unkempt, slovenly look never sported by a true gentleman.
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